It seems there are two types of people in this world: those who spring out of bed with boundless energy, and everyone else. If you fall into that second group, then your life is probably a constant search for ways to have more energy. Because for you, reality is trudging to work, falling asleep at your desk, and wanting nothing more than to be reunited with your couch once again.
I understand that a different way of life may sound too good to be true. After all, I'm sure you've tried everything from coffee, to energy drinks, and back again. If nothing has worked so far to boost your energy, then clearly you're doomed to a life of exhaustion. Right?
Not necessarily. There are many other tactics to try, and things to consider, as a way of putting a bit more pep in your step. What you eat, how you sleep, the things you drink — all of it matters. And it all can be the difference between remaining perky, or nodding off mid-day.
You will be reunited with your couch, but until then, here are some little ways to boost your energy, and make it through the day.
1. Grab A Mid-Afternoon Coffee
I get it, you need a big cup of coffee to get going in the morning. But the real way to stay energized all day is with more frequent, smaller cups. "Studies suggest that low doses of caffeine throughout the day are more effective than the traditional übercup first thing in the a.m," said Kimberly Goad on CNN.com. So don't be afraid to sip away.
2. Eat Three Meals
When your energy is flagging, it can be tempting to skip breakfast, or not go out for lunch. But whatever you do, don't give into laziness. As Colette Bouchez said on WebMD, "...studies published in the journal Nutritional Health found that missing any meal during the day led to an overall greater feeling of fatigue by day's end." Definitely not worth it.
3. Have Some Chocolate
Chocolate boosts energy, but not in the way you might think. "Sure chocolate's got caffeine, but that's not the only reason it offers a quick pick-me-up," said Kelly Fitzpatrick on Greatist.com. "Flavonoids found in cocoa have been shown to boost cognitive skills and improve mood." That's pretty good news, if I do say so myself.
4. Check On Your Sleep
How's that sleep schedule of yours? If it's all messed up, it could explain your lack of energy. To make things better, try adopting a sleep routine. "Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day," said Michael B. Fishbein on HuffingtonPost.com. This will make waking up easier, and it'll ensure you sleep better, thus giving you more energy for the day.
5. Go For A Stroll
One of the best things about energy-inducing exercise is that it doesn't have to be intense. A slow, relaxed walk is really all it takes to help you wake up. In fact, one study showed that people who did a low-intensity aerobic activity (like a leisurely walk) three times a week had a greater reduction in fatigue levels than those who did higher intensity workouts, according to Virginia Sole-Smith on Health. Sounds pretty manageable to me.
6. Drink Something Cold
Yes, coffee and tea often have caffeine, but their warmth and coziness may have you feeling too comfy in you desk chair. So go for a cold beverage instead, and be sure to add extra ice. "Water is an ideal drink, but for an extra boost, make it iced tea," suggested Goad. The chill may help wake you up.
7. Fix Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is another main culprit in tiredness. Fixing it up with some healthy snacks can help even things out, and make you feel more energized. Try snacks with a protein and a carbohydrate, such as fruit and cottage cheese. "They're absorbed by your body more slowly and provide a sustained release of energy, keeping your blood sugar steady," said Jill WaldBieser on Women's Health.
8. Take A Multivitamin
Multivitamins offer a bit of energy, but we hardly ever notice since we usually take them with coffee or tea, according to Sole-Smith. Do a little experiment, and try popping one at lunch — especially one containing vitamin B. You might just notice a difference.
9. Clean Up Your Desk
Clutter is a huge energy drag, according to Goad. So if you're barely able to go on, take a moment and clean up your space. Not only will it offer a nice break from the day, but the minimalist results can be quite rejuvenating.
10. Avoid Rich Foods
Yes, we all want a cheeseburger or slice of pizza for lunch. And yet these foods are almost always nap-inducing, according to Sole-Smith. Save them for dinner, or the weekend, when you can afford to climb into bed.
11. Do Something Interesting
The moment you feel sleepiness coming on, cease all boring tasks and do something fun. "One study found that being interested in a task makes it significantly easier to stay awake," said Fitzpatrick. The worst time of day for sleepiness is around 3 p.m., so have a fun little task ready to go.
Also have your coffee, snacks, and a few pieces of chocolate on hand, and you might just make it through the day.
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